Tips for Teens Looking for Work | Career Specialist

Investing in your education is still the best way to set yourself up for career success. Summer and part-time jobs can begin to give your resume experience clout.

Be prepared when applying for a job with a resume, even if you do not have a lot of work experience.

•Start keeping track of your work experience, including babysitting, yard work, dog walking, etc. With today’s technology, it is easy to update a resume and replace work experiences as you gain more experience instead of starting a resume in your later years where it is harder to remember what jobs you had.

•Write down school achievements and extracurricular activities, including leadership positions.

•Employers want to see references they can call. Be sure to check with your reference before listing them on your resume.

•Teens should highlight their computer skills.

During your high school years, you can start identifying what kind of work you might want to do as a profession.  What are your natural talents and interests? What are you passionate about? Meet with your school counselor, parents or mentor to identify jobs that match your talents and interests. Identify family, friends and neighbors who have a job in this field and request to job shadow for a day. This might help you decide if this is the kind of career and work environment you want to pursue, or you save yourself time and effort and decide this is not your career path.

Many of the jobs available for teens are in retail, fast food and movie theaters. These jobs can contribute to your resume experience clout by providing you with customer service and team member skills.

Remember to turn your cell phone off during an interview and be prepared to say a few words about yourself and what you can contribute.

The WIA Youth Services Program administered by MERS Goodwill is still accepting applicants. They work with youth ages 16 to 21 who are not in school with employment, job skills training, job search, certifications and GED assistance. Applicants must meet income guidelines.

Automatic program qualifiers include someone who had an IEP while in school or received food stamps/Link card within the last six months or receiving foster care or aged out of foster care. Contact Julie Sahaida, WIA Youth Services Case Manager, at 618-967-3964, or Robin Pruitt, WIA Youth Services Coordinator, at 618/979-0351.

Kathi Weilbacher is a Career Specialist at the Southwestern Illinois workNet Center located at the Monroe County Courthouse in Waterloo, offering assistance with employment and training. She can be reached at 939-3332 or

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